Just when you thought that checking pockets was enough…

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
PeopleImages/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. It’s already been a long day, and all that’s left between you and your bed is finishing that last load of laundry. When you open the lid to your washing machine, the last thing you want to find is a rip in your favorite top or snag on your brand-new sweater. You may be able to sort lights and darks in your sleep and consider yourself a pocket-checking pro, but there's one thing you still need to add to your pre-wash routine: closing the zipper.

Open Zipper

An open zipper is a delicate fabric’s ultimate enemy. The teeth or sharp edges can accidently tear into other garments while tossing around in your washer or dryer. Avoid small holes and unnecessary wear by closing all zippers before starting a wash, especially a mixed load.

The zipper rule applies to more than jeans and pants; put anything with a hook or fastener, like a blouse or bra, on your checklist too. These metal pieces can scratch against other clothing as well. Unhooked bras are especially dangerous to other fabrics when washed outside of a lingerie bag. Consider investing in one to protect your bras as well as the other clothes in your mixed load.

Detergent

The more detergent, the cleaner the clothes, right? Wrong. Using too much detergent or the wrong type of detergent can cause excess suds that get caught in clothes and aren’t easily rinsed away. Stick to the label instructions to keep things clean.

Shirt Buttons

Unlike zippers, garments with buttons should be left open before bouncing around in your machine. They’re more delicate, so leaving buttons undone will put less stress on the threads and help them last longer.

WATCH: Here's What You Need to Know About the Harmful Bacteria That Could Be in Your Washing Machine

Water Temperature

For those of you who always default to warm, it’s time to learn that each temperature setting has its purpose. It may seem like warm or hot water will give the deepest clean, but washing dark and bright colors in cold water helps preserve color and prevent bleeding or fading. Hot water is best for white loads, and warm water is best for knits.

Advertisement